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How do I ensure that my advertising and promotional activities are compliant?

Advertising---MAG

Advertising your business and promoting the range of services you provide is a great way to attract potential customers and increase your business revenue. But there are many rules that go with financial services advertising, so how can you be sure you’re getting it right?

When advertising your financial services, it is very important that your advertisements comply with the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (NCCP) to safeguard customers against conduct that is likely to influence or mislead.

These advertising guidelines are set out in ASIC’s Regulatory Guide 234 and we encourage you to download the guide and familiarise yourself with the content. To make all this information a little easier to absorb, we have distilled the hot topics our brokers encounter around advertising into an easy reference to help you avoid falling foul of the regulator.

Ready? Then let’s get started!

Advertising Terminology

One of the most important considerations when creating your adverting is the wording you use to convey your message. You must ensure that your advertising does not create a misleading impression for your customers by the way it is worded! A list of words that ASIC do not approve of includes, but is not limited to:

  • Free service
  • Best – examples such as “we find the best loan” or have access to the “best rates”
  • Massive savings (or a quantified amount, such as “we can save you $75,000 over the life of your loan!”)
  • Independent service
  • Guaranteed

Connective recommends that you follow best practice and use terminology from the legislation such as:

  • Find the right home loan for your needs / circumstances
  • Personalised assistance
  • Complementary
  • We provide you with competitive choices

Disclaimers

People and businesses advertise for a reason. Advertising can be very powerful and the temptation for a customer can be to make a decision to take up a product solely on the basis of your advertisement, which can lead to poor financial decisions. So, to temper your customer’s enthusiasm, disclaimers are required to inform the customer that the advertisement by its nature will not contain all the information required to make a considered decision. For example: “Your full financial situation would need to be reviewed prior to acceptance of any offer or product.

Competitions

Competitions can be an effective method of engaging with new and existing customers and are also a great way to grow your customer base. When attracting new customers through your competition, a sure fire way to get them offside is with the proverbial ‘fine print’ – which can quickly turn the first experience they have with your business from a positive one to a poor one.

So how do you avoid the pitfalls? Put simply, clarity and disclosure:

  • Always make sure that the terms and conditions match the competition / advertisement
  • Be clear on precisely what the customer needs to do to qualify for any prize or reward
  • Have a clear disclaimer such as “Refer to full Terms and Conditions” and a link to the full T&Cs.

Social Media

Most businesses these days, whether in the financial services industry or not, have a social media presence of some kind. Advertising on these platforms is a cost effective and easily scalable way to reach customers through likes and shares of your page or even with sponsored ads in news feeds and banners. When using social media to connect with customers, you need to have your licencing details listed as well as a link to your privacy policy to let people know how you safeguard any information provided to you.

Other hints and tips:

Don’t forget that there are other requirements when advertising your business such as having a Privacy Policy available to your customers on your website and social media, as well as rules around advertising interest rates and guidelines for business cards.  Connective Wiki has a full list of information on the different requirements for the different types of advertising.

As a general reminder for our Connective Credit Representatives, all advertising must be sent to the Compliance Team for approval! Simply email us at compliance@connective.com.au

Your Compliance team is here to help you!

Remember, if you have any questions or would like us to check your advertising and promotional materials prior to publication, we’ll be happy to help. To contact your Compliance Team, just click the help icon in Mercury or simply email compliance@connective.com.au.